UK News: Who is Simon Cheng - and why was he ‘tortured’ by China? - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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UK News Who is Simon Cheng - and why was he ‘tortured’ by China?

16:02  21 november  2019
16:02  21 november  2019 Source:   theweek.co.uk

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Simon Cheng , a Hong Kong citizen who worked for the UK government for almost two years, was detained for 15 days on a trip to mainland China in "They said they work for the secret service and that there are no human rights," he tells me. "Then they started the torture ." Who is Simon Cheng ?

Simon Cheng , a 28-year-old who works as a trade and investment officer for the British Consulate General Hong Kong, has been put in administrative detention for 15 days, China 's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng So he is Chinese and this is a purely internal Chinese affair," Geng said.

a man standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera © Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited

A diplomatic spat appears to be brewing amid claims that an employee of the British consulate in Hong Kong was arrested and tortured during a work trip to mainland China.

Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong citizen who worked for the UK government for two years, this week told the BBC that he was detained for 15 days and forced to falsely confess to inciting political unrest in the China-controlled territory.

Who is Simon Cheng?

Cheng was a trade and investment officer at the UK consulate, with a specific brief to  to drum up interest in investing in Scotland among the Chinese business community.

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Simon Cheng is back in Hong Kong, say relatives and friends, after weeks of detention in mainland China . He was later accused by Chinese state media of visiting prostitutes , although his friends and family have His friends and family did not know why he was detained. Cheng ’s girlfriend, Li, said

The man, detained in August, says he was blindfolded and beaten for his part in Hong Kong's protests. A former employee of the UK's Hong Kong consulate has told the BBC that he was tortured in China and accused of inciting political unrest in the city.

He claims that in June, the British consulate asked its staff to collect information about the status of the protests rocking the terrority and to report back - for which Cheng was paid overtime.

His research included signing up to social media groups where pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong coordinated their actions, and attending rallies.

UK government sources say that he attended the events purely to observe and that such civil society monitoring is routine practice for many embassies.

Why was he arrested?

In late August, Cheng travelled to mainland China for a business conference in Shenzhen. Emails on his phone linked him to the observation work that he was carrying out at the Hong Kong protests.

On his return, Cheng was stopped at a Chinese border post at West Kowloon station, in the heart of Hong Kong.

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Simon Cheng , a Hong Kong citizen who worked for the UK government for almost two years, was detained for 15 days on a trip to mainland China in August. "We are outraged by the disgraceful mistreatment that Mr Cheng faced when he was in detention in mainland China

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He was transported back to Shenzhen and handed over to plain-clothes officers from China’s National Security Police, who accused him of being a British agent.

What are the claims against China?

Cheng told the BBC that he was “shackled, blindfolded and hooded”, and that he was beaten and forced to sign confessions.

“They said they work for the secret service and that there are no human rights,” said Cheng. “Then they started the torture.”

“They would beat the bony parts, like my ankles... or any vulnerable part.”

British government sources say they believe his claims are credible.

Cheng says he was hung from a chain linking the handcuffs on his wrists, questioned about his involvement with the protests, and accused of provoking unrest on behalf of the British state.

“They wanted to know what role the UK had in the Hong Kong protests - they asked what support, money and equipment we were giving to the protesters,” he said.

Former UK consulate employee says Chinese secret police tortured him

  Former UK consulate employee says Chinese secret police tortured him Former UK consulate employee says Chinese secret police tortured himSimon Cheng, a Hong Kong citizen who worked for the British government for almost two years, was detained for 15 days on a trip to mainland China in August.

Simon Cheng said he was detained by the Chinese government for 15 daysCredit: Reuters. I was blindfolded and hooded during the whole torture and interrogations, I sweated a lot, and felt Mr Cheng said he was told he was going to be charged as a “criminal suspect of armed rebellion and

Simon Cheng , who worked at consulate, alleges repeated mental and physical abuse. A former employee of the British consulate in Hong Kong has alleged he was tortured while being detained in China , during a 15-day ordeal in which he said he was branded “a British spy and secret agent” and

He was also allegedly subjected to sleep deprivation, with his captors forcing him to sing the Chinese national anthem to keep him awake.

In order to get further information, his interrogators allegedly strapped him to a chair and held his head up by his hair so they could open his mobile phone using the device’s facial recognition function.

They then allegedly printed out the emails containing the updates that he had given the UK consulate about the protests.

"I told them I want to make it 100% clear, the UK didn’t assign resources or help with the protests,” he said.

He was later made to record video confessions for “betrayal of the motherland” and for “soliciting prostitution”, the BBC reports.

And he believes he was not the only Hongkonger suffering such treatment. “The secret police clearly stated that batches after batches of Hong Kong protesters had been caught, delivered and detained in mainland China,” Cheng told the broadcaster.

What happens next?

Speaking to the BBC this week, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We are outraged by the disgraceful mistreatment that Mr Cheng faced when he was in detention in mainland China.

Scots government worker 'blindfolded, tortured and accused of being a traitor' in Chinese jail

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Simon Cheng , who was detained by communist authorities and brought to Mainland China this summer while he was representing the British government in Hong Kong, said he was tortured by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the 15 days he was imprisoned.

Simon Cheng , a Hong Kong citizen, claimed he was shackled to a steel "tiger chair", hung spread-eagled on a "steep X-Cross" and beaten while he was detained for 15 days in August. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Cheng 's allegations are credible and that the treatment "amounts to

“We’ve made clear that we expect the Chinese authorities to review and hold to account those responsible.”

In response, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that the Beijing authorities “absolutely cannot accept the UK government’s interference in this case” and would summon the UK ambassador to “express their opposition and anger”.

Cheng told the BBC that his Chinese interrogators had warned that if he spoke publicly about his arrest, he would be “taken back to mainland China from Hong Kong”.

He has since been forced to resign from his role at the British consulate, because the UK government considers him a security risk following his long interrogation by the Chinese secret police.

“I was asked to resign on November 2019, which ended my roughly two-year service and employment,” he said.

Government sources say he has been given support, including a two-year working visa for the UK.

But sources told The Guardian that the visa was a “working holiday” type, which only allows Cheng to be employed for a maximum of 12 months and provides no pathway to permanent residency.

“That someone could be tortured by a dictatorship and then effectively fired by the UK government is horrific and twisted,” said pro-democracy group Fight For Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong.

More on Who is Simon Cheng - and why was he ‘tortured’ by China?

Hong Kong protesters seek British support as campus blockade ends .
Activists handed a petition to a British Consulate official before leaving. Beijing denies torturing Mr Cheng and says he was held for soliciting prostitution during a business trip to mainland China in August. Mr Cheng says he agreed to confess to avoid harsher charges. He says he was hooded, beaten and chained to a metal frame as Chinese secret police sought information on activists involved in the protests and on Britain’s purported role. © Provided by PA Media Protesters outside the British Consulate in Hong Kong (Vincent Thian/AP) Mr Cheng has left the consulate and is in hiding.

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